Thursday, November 21, 2013

A disaster, perhaps?

I don't write much about politics here anymore. I still have an interest but it does not ignite the fire in my belly that it once did.

This has happened over a period of time and, frankly, I like myself a lot better now. All of that is a topic, perhaps, for another day.

I can't resist the urge, however, to say something about the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. You can go back through my posts (not that you would want to) and see that I never once bashed the ACA. And in fact, once the legislation passed, I wanted it to work. I really did.

For years I have had mixed feelings about this nation's handling of health care, battling with my conscience over the people in this country who don't have access to adequate care, while having a gnawing feeling in my gut that the federal government is not equipped to handle such a gargantuan task as insuring millions of people.

That gnawing feeling is largely supported by the news over the last several months. It looks like our government was and is woefully unprepared.

I'm not ready to say the whole thing is a disaster, but it is disturbing beyond comprehension that the website through which a large portion of the citizenry was supposed to have obtained health insurance is so overrun with glitches that it's become a joke.

And not a very funny one, I might add.

Yes, the ACA has withstood a Supreme Court challenge. I get that. But what are we supposed to do now? Just wait, wait and wait some more? How long?

And what about the president's promise, made so emphatically, that if you liked your health insurance plan, you could stay with it?  I don't doubt that he meant it, but it's looking like it's simply not true. I saw one of those news shows last night with a panel of commentators, one of whom stated that it's just a small percentage of folks who are having their health insurance policies canceled.

It might be a small percentage, but it still numbers in the millions. I think that is unacceptable when those people WERE TOLD IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN!

So what happens now? Your guess is as good as mine.

I'm not ready to call it a disaster just yet, but it might not be long. Here's hoping something gets cleaned up fast.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Of stadiums and aging

Big news over the past couple of weeks w/ regard to baseball teams I follow.

Well, the news is not really about the teams but, rather, about the venues where they play, or used to play.

Voters in Houston, TX last week rejected a referendum that would have authorized a bond issue, the proceeds from which would have gone to make the tired old Astrodome (once dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World") into a convention center.

Alas, it will now probably have a date with a wrecking ball, having fallen into disrepair. Once ahead of its time as the first indoor sports stadium (completed in 1965), in less than 50 years it has become obsolete. No teams have played there since 1999 and it has become an eyesore for the city.

It's especially sad to me because, ever since I visited the Astrodome in 1966 as an 8-year-old, the Astros have been my favorite baseball team. To be sure, they have tested my loyalty with mediocre and downright bad teams. Ownership and management have frustrated me.

But the "unkindest cut of all" was their switch to the American League. And they treated us all to another 100-plus losses this past inaugural season in the AL. The pain continues.

Yet I remain a fan. I hold on to those scant handful of division championships and the one glorious year they won the National League pennant (2005). Even though they were swept by the White Sox in the World Series, they made it to the dance.

Now the venerable old building where I became a fan will probably be no more.  Very sad.


And what do you know, today the Atlanta Braves big wigs announced the team would be moving from Turner Field and will build a new facility in Cobb County just north of the city.

I'm not really sad about this but I am pretty surprised they are vacating a park that is less than 20 years old. Turner Field was completed in 1997 (originally built for the 1996 Olympics and scaled down after that event), the successor to Fulton County Stadium. Both parks were near downtown Atlanta and the fact is the location is terrible. Parking is a nightmare and the surroundings are anything but fan friendly.

Braves management say Turner Field needs upgrades that would be costly. The Braves have a lease with the City of Atlanta that will apparently expire in the next three years. The new stadium should be ready for the 2017 season.

Since, of course, it's all about me as a fan, I've decided this is good news. The move north will take about a half hour off of my drive and I will welcome not having to drive through downtown and all the Atlanta traffic to get to a game.


So what's next? Will the Cubs abandon Wrigley? Will Fenway Park become a dinosaur? Only time will tell, but it's becoming clear it's out with the old.

And old just doesn't seem to be very old anymore.